Going Beyond for Dairy Story: Equipment Investment Recommendation Pays Off

When Addison Bowman, ANC Independent Consultant from Dayton, VA, started working with Galen and Conrad Showalter of Dayton, Virginia, their cows were milking in the 60 pound range.  Through Addison’s guidance, they were able to increase milk production to 80 pounds per cow. However, they struggled to achieve the ideal 3.5 percent fat test during the warmer months of the year. The Showalter’s typical milk cow ration contains between 3 and 6 pounds of dry hay per cow per day depending on the time of year and availability of hay.  The Showalter’s use a horizontal TMR mixer that is not designed to mix long hay into the TMR.  Addison noticed how the lack of hay processing resulted in the cows sorting the TMR, and that a few hours after the TMR was delivered, the feed in the bunk was long and stringy and didn’t look much like the desired TMR that was originally delivered. Because Addison knew the Showalters were not chopping their hay before mixing it into the TMR, he recommended they switch to a different type of TMR mixer, or buy a hay chopper to process the hay before mixing into the current TMR mixer. Although the Showalters were originally reluctant to spend money on new equipment, they ended up listening to Addison’s recommendation and purchased a hay chopper that allows them to process their hay before mixing it into the TMR. After incorporating processed hay into the TMR, the Showalters were able to boost their fat test to 3.5 percent in the middle of the summer. Conrad Showalter told Addison, “We should have done this a...

Four helpful tools farmers can use to track market trends

The average milk price for 2014 hit an all-time high and feed prices were moderate, resulting in a very profitable year for dairy farmers.  Ag economists are projecting an average all milk price of $18/cwt for 2015 or roughly $5.50 less than the 2014 milk price.  Feed prices may soften some in 2015 but it appears that dairy farm profit margins will tighten. Even with lower milk prices and tighter feed costs, there are opportunities to increase income over feed cost on your farm.  Dr. John Goeser from Rock River Laboratory and I recently had a discussion about some of the tools we recommend dairy farmers use to navigate the volatile markets they encounter.  One area we find is often overlooked is the wide array of information on markets and market trends that can help a dairy farmer understand the factors that are at play in the marketplace. This information can help farmers make informed decisions and position themselves to respond to market signals in a way that will encourage profitability even when margins are tight. There are many different sources of information available on market trends in both commodities and milk prices.  A few of our favorites are listed below. Dr. Goeser’s  recommendations: 1. Companies that specialize in the trade of futures contracts in milk, corn, and soybeans can be a valuable resource.   One example is Commodity and Ingredient Hedging, they publish a report called the Margin Manager Newsletter.   In their December Dairy margin watch report they discuss the tightening dairy margins and factors that are impacting dairy margins including market conditions in China and New Zealand.  They...

Going Above & Beyond to Bring Innovations to the Dairy Industry

As innovators in the dairy industry, Agri-Nutrition Consulting, AMTS, Feed Components and Rock River Laboratory are inviting nutritionists and dairy professionals to participate in the Go Beyond Workshop on Wednesday, February 4, 2015 at PhD R&D in Fort Atkinson, Wisconsin.  The workshop kicks off with lunch at noon and is then followed-up with hands-on training throughout the afternoon. The day will end with a tour of the PhD R&D facility at 5:00 p.m. The focus will be around the new CNCPS 6.5 biology and the AMTS software, presented by Dr. Tom Tytlutki, but the learning is not limited to just those topics.  Dr. Patrick French and Dr. John Goeser will be presenting on leading edge amino acid and starch digestibility topics, respectively, and how recent advances apply on today’s progressive dairy farms.  Agri-Nutrition Consulting will be leading the group through how these topics are shaping the dairy nutrition industry and impacting the advice that is taken to today’s progressive dairy farms.  Attendees will participate in presentations and discussions exploring the latest issues, developments, and technologies in the fields of amino acid nutrition and starch digestibility. Cost is $50 per participant. To reserve your spot at the Go Beyond Workshop, please contact Lynn Gilbert at lynn@agmodelsystems.com or Heather Hunt at hunth@agrinutrition.com.  Space is limited. Register today!   Register with ANC to receive a discounted...